tv Inside Washington PBS November 5, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
>> excuse me. excuse me! >> this week on "inside washington," the amazing adventures of herman cain. is mitt romney now the inevitable nominee? >> it is crucial we show the world that we can live up to our obligations. >> the european net debt crisis and the occupy wall street protests -- is there a connection? >> i am worried you are going to fail the country. >> barack obama as a populist. how was that working? >> i am joining many of these workers to say it makes absolutely no sense when there is so much work to be done that they are not doing the work. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--
>> last week you may recall i began this broadcast by asking about the herman cain phenomenon, if he was for real. here we are back again with more on mr. cain, who, according to a "political" report, allegedly sexually harassed women in the 1990's at the national restaurant association. his responses to these allegations have evolved over time. >> i have never sexually harassed anyone, and those accusations are totally false. i am unaware of any sort of the settlement. i hope it wasn't for much. there was a financial settlement, and it was somewhere in the vicinity of three months to six months' severance pay.
>> that is the way it when all week long. we are hearing about a third accuser and a $45,000 severance package. the end ofrds defeate last week's broadcast, you want us not to count herman cain out. -- 5,'s pick up the ocunt 6, 7, 8 -- we are about at 9 at this point. [laughter] >> mark? >> the evolving explanations are a textbook example of how not to handle a scandal. this has just been a disaster, and the day ended up by accusing one of their opponents, rick perry, and then saying is the left that is behind all thing, a
la clarence thomas. they are pointing fingers but not explaining much. >> evan? >> it does not matter what we think, it is the voters of iowa brought he might get away with this as a media elite lynching thing, but there are a couple of problems with that. one is that he has accused perry, a conservative, of leaking the whole thing. the other is if one of these women comes forward and says that it was not just joking around, he invited me to his room -- it looks like an overt sexual pass. if that that becomes -- that has not happened yet, and it may not happen, but that would be the final straw. >> nina? >> watching herman cain
throughout this process, you knew there was going to be a moment with you-know-what hit the fan, and this is it. but his numbers have not gone down. i am not willing to write him off yet, because i don't see a commensurate drop in his support in the polls. >> and people are willing to donate to his campaign. >> i don't buy that argument. i think it is going to catch up. there is a time lag here, and an impression that comes across. "politico," as i understand it, dave herman cain 10 days -- gave herman cain a 10 days to recall what happened, to reflect on it, go to the restaurant association and ask them to refresh his memory, to look at the documents, to get his family prepared for what was going to come. he has gone out there and given this evolving story.
that is the part that is really disturbing. >> i am really not saying he will survive this. most people would have already had a calamitous reaction in fund-raising and in numbers, and it has happened at. > -- it has not happened yet. >> two things, to reinforce colby's pinetree any republican you talk to, they always end the conversation with "we have to tower brough -- we have beat barack obama." what campaignr they are working for. the second thing is that he has used one of the oldest tricks of the game, and that is instead of responding to the substance of the charge, i accuse the source. for those too young to remember, when joe biden was exposed in 1988 have been lifted entirely
the speech of the british labor leader for his stump speech bidenut attribution withoutth, campaign and some in the press said it was leaked by the dukakis campaign. it was true. if the charge is true, the charge is true. >> who lead the story in the first place? -- laked the story in the first place? >> it does it really matter. that is irrelevant. the question is whether it is true or not. going back to kent beat barack obama, -- who can or barack obama -- beat barack obama, ann coulter has a view on this. she said, "our blacks are better
than their black." i did not know we were still owned, but every day and every way i get smarter and smarter. as a matter of fact, she said, the next day after the first statement, "ours are more impressive." >> i want to say a good word about rick perry. he came out this week with what i thought was the cleverest phrase of the whole campaign, "are you better off than you were $4 trillion ago?" >> he is on a down slope. can he come back? >> of course he can. $17 million -- that as a trampoline. >> the reason cain is in the ballpark and all is because
nobody really loves it romney. >> the president's philosophy and that of the people around him is extraordinarily misguided. i think they take their inspiration from those who believe that government knows better than free people how to run our lives and build an economy. >> that is mitt romney at town meeting in new hampshire. he has been running against barack obama from day one, forget the others. friday's "washington post," columnist eugene robinson writes about the inevitability of mitt romney, but then he goes on to say that it is hard to see how mitt romney can win it either. if not romney, who? >> mitt is the prohibitive favorite, but it will be a stumble between now and the coronation if there is a coronation. that is the wonderful thing, this is never a direct, linear
experienced. don't count out the chubby fellow from georgia, the rehabilitated newt gingrich, carrying a bogus iq and other baggage. >> his numbers are coming up. >> never count out his ability to say something completely outrageous that will get him in terrible trouble. he is as likely as herman cain to do it. >> there is a story in "washington post" that describes a meeting mitt romney had when he was governor of massachusetts with pro-choice people -- "you need someone like me in washington. i can soften the the republican hard line on abortion, gay rights." >> it paints a picture of romney everyone is criticizing, who will tack whatever way he has to. that will not go away.
it will intensify. >> romney has been amazingly disciplined, and that is the whole game here. everybody knows he's a flip- flopper. the question is if he does more flip-floping. there have been little cracks in his armor, but so far, little cracks. his ability to take a punch and keep cruising along has been remarkable. he has got to keep it up. >> at the town meeting, he talked about the situation in greece that we are going to talk about later on. he said that if it comes to default in america, and there is nobody to bail us out. he is talking about serious stuff. >> he is the grown-up in the room. he may be the ken doll
grownup, but he is the grown-up in the room. the way he has navigated the health-care issue has been really masterful. that is the only way to describe it, because he signed a bill in massachusetts that became the model for obamacare, and he found a way to navigate through those shoals without coming to a total shipwreck. >> romney's strategy has been, in my judgment, the wisest one. he has not gone after the president personally. it is always criticizing on policy, whereas the others in many cases have been just intemperate in their accusations and indictments against the president. as a consequence of that, the white house firing back as hard as they have on romney are making them the heavy. the other think he needs is some sort of epiphany to explain why
he moved from the positions you outlined it to where he is now beyond just political expediency. there have to be some personal experience he has gone through to move from a pro-choice to pro-life -- >> i disagree with that. he just needs to show he is the steady. the election turns on middle- class suburban housewives, and they want to see somebody who they think is steady, reliable, they can trust. if he can just maintain his current persona, he does not have to get into that explanations of why he was this or that brett he ought to be what he is now, and that ought to do. >> disagree. >> i am not sure right about at. about i am not sure r that. >> we spent it part time
discussing the club or recovery. >> if italy were to default, it would become unsalvagable. >> we heard in a lot about greece, what happens if italy defaults? >> utter disaster. it would not be contained to europe. a lot of financial institutions have paper affected by italy going down. because it is such a disaster, it cannot happen -- that is the logic of this. europe might let greece go, but italy, they will issue whenever debts are necessary. it has a feeling of a slow- motion car wreck. buddy is -- but it is just intolerable for italy. >> i don't think italy is going
to go down. it has close to a balanced budget. it has a lot of debt, and it has berlusconi, which is itself a problem. the immediate problem is greece. >> colby, can you draw a connection between the the wall street protests, which are spreading across the country, and what is going on in europe? >> i can't do that. the street demonstrations in greece have been a lot like demonstrations we have had here, but the causes are different. i think we would be a little stretched to try to draw some correlation between the two. what was interesting about greece, though, was papandreou first talked about having our referendum, and the europeans let it be known that this would be a disaster, because the greeks would reject this package, and you will get out of the euro. >> how do you convince people who don't want to pay taxes and
don't pay taxes that it is time to pay taxes in a society where the maximum social security payment is $48,000, as opposed to $28,000 in the united states? >> how do you convince republicans in this country to pay taxes? >> same thing. >> you cannot answer a question with a question. >> the only good thing about this crisis, and it will affect us no matter what, because europe is the biggest market for china, is the biggest market for us -- everybody is buying american bonds. in a world of midgets, we are the tallest midget at the moment. >> we owe much to greece, from democracy to philosophy to drama. so much of our culture, no question about it. but they have brought the free
lunch to a concept that nobody else has even matched around the world. that is painful. i think we ought to keep our eyes concentrated on the administration and the acceptance of pain in a democracy because that is what we are facing. . >> argentina faced the same thing several years ago. they lived way beyond their means. they had a day of reckoning. >> at the beginning of this broadcast, i showed a small clip of erskine bowles talking to the committee, saying, "i am worried you are going to fail the country." we are coming to the november 23 deadline with the super committee. where do we stand? >> failure. almost a sure bet that they won't get it done. these automatic cuts will be triggered, but they will in turn be unwound by congress. the net total bottom-line
answer, absolutely nothing will happen in the way of fiscal sanity between now ahdnd -- >> the election. >> the ratings agencies would have no choice but to downgrade us not only if the committee fails, but we fail to allow the cuts to take place. there is an absence of political will in the united states. why rate us as good paper when we don't have it? >> the cuts don't actually take place for a year, and i figure that congress will find a way to wiggle out of it. >> the administration is trying to get pieces of its jobs bill passed. >> i think this is a drawing the lines, and is important for 2012. that is where we are, quite frankly, on this legislation br. as far as the debt reduction committee, i think tom
gallagher, the analyst, put it well -- we are now in time of the negative-sum politics. we had a fiasco over the summer of the debt ceiling, and it hurt the president, but it also hurts the republicans. it is not going to just heard one side, it will hurt both. whatever deal they come up with, it cannot be fine-tuned. it has to be voted up or down as it comes out of the committee. for that reason, there is hope for action. >> it is interesting to watch the sort of conversation -- the political conversation outside of washington has moved from the debt crisis to the income gap, and what that means for resolving the debt crisis in any immediate sense, i just don't know. >> the president has populist. >> if they don't act, i will.
that is why today i am announcing that we are going to expedite loans and competitive grants for new projects all across the country that will create thousands of new jobs for workers like these. >> there you have president obama at keybridge, connecting georgetown and a d.c. to arlington, virginia. he will order the transportation department to award road and bridge repair grants by the end of the year. how was this working for him, evan? >> it is not hurting him, but it will not win re-election for him. he passed to win -- has to win independents. playing the populist, left the card may energize his base a tiny bit, but it will not win him election.
presumably he will tack back -- >> i actually don't agree with you, evan. i think it is working. this is the first time in a long time that he is talking about something people there about. when he tries to push a jobs bill based on a tax on millionaires, it resonates with people. i think that you -- you don't want to be running against that. you don't want to be running against redrafting thi -- redressing some of the tax inequity to create jobs. >> voters in battleground states are evenly divided between the president and mitt romney. >> i think obama is doing the right thing and the sense that he laid down is a comprehensive package, now going piece by piece, putting them on record, vote after vote on this. when you get a vote like the other day, 51-49, and he still
lost -- >> the republicans say, but what we have jobs bills of our own and the democrats won't meet us halfway." >> it is just a noisy chatter and has no impact on national politics at all. >> the fact that the president is running evenly with anybody is pretty good. congress gets a 9% approval rating, which, as john mccain puts it, includes blood relatives and staff, and that is about it. [laughter] >> the unemployment rate drops to 9%, still leaving nearly 14 million people out of work. awfully big rock to roll up the hill. >> will we be there at this point next year? that is the question. i don't think we will. we will see gradual improvement. >> voters in battleground states are not happy about the direction of the country, and
that is true in national polls as well. they don't like presidential leadership and so forth. the feeling is that the nation is in decline, our kids are going to be worse off than we were v. how do you run against that? >> it is against the grain of america -- we are by actual measurement the most optimistic people on the face of the earth. it is very much in the atmosphere, the environment of this campaign, the discussion that we could do what we used to do, whether it is building the interstate highway or anything else. it is a problem more for the democrats then for the republicans. the democrats are the party of government. to the degree that government is seen as not working, it does not hurt the republicans at all, because of they are the anti- government party. the democrats have to point out that some of the things we do
make a difference in your lives and make this country better. >> we have slipped in terms of countries in the world and their ranking -- we are watching countries like china and india, in a strong -- coming on very strong. >> where is the "morning in america"? where is the ronald reagan? >> it is hard to argue this or campaign on it, but we are making an adjustment to our new face in the world economy. globalization has affected all of us. >> reality is rearing its ugly head here. >> it is really tough for politicians, because it is part of the american tradition, american is -- america is the best, the greatest -- >> american exceptionalism. >> we are in a time when
newspapers tell you the opposite, measured many ways. >> newspapers themselves are in decline. >> that may add to the gloom. >> that aside, measured so many ways -- politicians are stuck with this upbeat rhetoric. 2012 could turn on whatever politician figures out how to square that circle. >> as an old campaign war horse, let me suggest, what are the greatest universities in the world? american? why does the world come here? when somebody gets sick, why do they come here? we had best health care. we the chance for people with oppressed backgrounds to succeed in this country but if you have got to be able to show actual success stories.
>> steve jobs is american, bill gates is american. >> but you cannot just do that, because people look at their own lives and it does not fit that image. if you have to bridge over from what you are saying. that is the first paragraph. the second paragraph has to be, "what we have lived beyond our means for too long --" >> there is a third part. "this is what we need to do to regain what we were." we need to do something about infrastructure, we need to do something about our education system so that our kids can be competitive in the 21st century. you cite examples of where it could happen, the individuals who are doing that. there is a political argument. >> the problem is the complete gridlock of ideology. to do something, you have to do something. >> we have to do something now,